Citizens Collar DUI Hit-And-Run Suspect

Police say passing motorists handcuffed the man after he injured two in a crash.

Nov. 2, 2007 — -- A pair of fast-acting passersby collared an alleged drunken driver after the suspect tried to take off from a Halloween hit-and-run that left a husband and wife in separate vehicles injured and the cars likely totaled.

Police say Joshua Travis of Garden City, Idaho, was driving at a high rate of speed through one of the city's busier intersections in a Wrangler-style Jeep shortly before midnight Wednesday when they say he smashed into a minivan waiting for the signal to change.

The force of the crash was so great, said Sgt. Jerry Walbey of the Garden City Police Department, that the minivan was crushed up against the car in front of it.

"Both of those cars were minivans," Walbey explained. "A husband and wife team who had just gotten off work from Wal-Mart. Both of those vehicles -- well, one I can say for sure, the other was close to totaled."

Travis then backed up in the Jeep, Walbey said, freeing it from the crash wreckage, and continued driving down the road away from the scene -- leaving two injured hit-and-run victims behind.

The suspect didn't get far.

"He no longer had headlights, it's dark outside and he ended up hitting a telephone pole about 100 yards away," Walbey, who was one of the officers who responded to the scene, told ABC News.

At the same time, two passing motorists who witnessed the accident and followed Travis from the first scene got out of their cars and apprehended the suspect -- holding him in handcuffs until police arrived.

Authorities did not identify the good Samaritans by name, but said one was a passing security guard on his way home from work and the other a 17-year-old with out-of-state plates.

Walbey said it was the teen, not the security guard, who had handcuffs in his car to hold Travis -- a detail he admitted caused police to raise an eyebrow.

Travis, who at some point put his face through the windshield, was transported to a local hospital, as were the husband and wife he allegedly hit. Police charged him with aggravated driving under the influence and fleeing the scene of an accident in which passengers were injured. He is being held at the Ada County Jail.

Walbey said that in this case, the work of civilians helped police immensely. He cautioned, however, that stepping into a crime scene can be dangerous.

"I would be concerned when you don't know who you're dealing with," he said. "But in this case, their actions may have prevented this guy from backing up and driving farther down the road and hitting someone else."

Less than one week ago, five young adults in Salem, Ore., disrupted an alleged rape in progress, tackling the suspect and corralling him until police arrived.

Like the Idaho hit-and-run, the good Samaritans were simply driving down the road when they saw what appeared to be a sexual assault in progress. One called 911 while three others gave chase.

And like Walbey, the Idaho officer, police in Oregon urged citizens to be judicious before taking justice into their own hands -- despite the fortunate outcomes in cases like these.

"You don't know whether a suspect is armed or what their mind frame is," Salem police spokesman Lt. Dave Okada said.